Friday, February 23, 2018

Laal Ishq - Catch Up

Hi guys!  Just recently, I discovered that "Laal Ishq" existed.  I wasn't choosing not to watch this particular show, I just didn't know it was a "thing."  On the recommendation of someone, I picked it up - and realized "Oh my God, this is a sequel to Landa Bazaar!"!


Flashback to 2002, I remember catching glimpses of Landa Bazaar when at a friend's house and watching episodes here and there, mostly because all the girls found "Rameez" (Ali Zafar) dreamy.  Moving to the summer of 2004 when I was visiting Pakistan - Ali Zafar had hit the big time and the TV channels began reairing Landa Bazaar.  My memories of the show are of watching it in a room with my Dadimaa (grandmother), so not only was it a good show, but I have great memories associated with it.  I also remember being particularly impressed with Babar Ali, because up until that point, he had been quite the goofball of an actor in Lollywood films and suddenly, he was giving this very impressive performance in a great show.


OKAY.  So now I am hoping SOMEONE who is reading this will be able to answer all the questions that I have.  Mind you, I am STILL catching up and I'm on episode 8.

First of all, the OST is stinking beautiful.  That's the only way to describe it, it just grabs your attention immediately and holds you there.

Guys, so many questions.  Who is Saba Hameed playing?  Is she Ameeran?  I feel like I need to watch Landa Bazaar again, because I didn't think Hukum was married.  He was in love with Zohra?  Did he marry Ameeran and that's who Saba Hameed is playing?  Or did I just forget him being married?  Second, where did these kids come from?  Baali and Hukum had that fight ON Baali and Zohra's WEDDING DAY, so I can't imagine that after all that ruckus, Zohra and Bali went into the room to bring some children into the world!  Likewise with Hukum - where did these children come from?  He wasn't married (again, unless I'm wrong and he was).  Also, where did Rameez and Baali's sister disappear to?  I don't think there was an explanation for that one, was there?

And most importantly, Mehar Chirag had FORGIVEN Baali at the end of Landa Bazaar, so why was he in jail?  Why did he get a death sentence to begin with?  He was pardoned......?



*Phew*  All of that aside, there is something so heartwarming and nostalgic about this show.  I love that SO many of the original cast members are a part of the show.  It's great to see Babar Ali again.  Kashif Mehmood is doing such a great job showing Jajji's growth and change over the years.  He's a very lovable character.  It's actually really nice to see Faryal Mehmood in a lead role, as she's a very talented actress that rarely gets her due.


I'm honestly enjoying this show, for both sentimental reasons and for the very gripping story.  Is anyone else watching?  Let me know your thoughts!  Until next time, happy watching!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Best Dramas of 2017

2017 was a year that, overall, had fairly mediocre dramas gracing our television screens.  However, sprinkled throughout the year were some solid gems that were not only memorable, but may be remembered as classics in years to come.  While I've struggled each year to come up with a "top 10 favorite dramas" list in the years preceding, this year, I had a hard time narrowing down the list to only 10.  While we didn't have many action-packed thorough entertainers, this year gave height to more silent, subtle and powerful storylines.

Disclaimer:  As always guys, I only include completed dramas in my list.  Dramas like Baaghi, Mujhe Jeene Do, Daldal, etc. that are still ongoing will most likely (unless they manage to mess up in the coming weeks) be featured on my list for 2018.  I consider the year the drama ends in rather than the year it begins in.

There is also a VIDEO version of this post this year, so if you guys are interested, please visit my YouTube channel at the link below!

The Best Pakistani Dramas of 2017 - Video Version

Alright, so let's get into my list of the top 10 best dramas of 2017!

1)  Yakeen Ka Safar



By far, the best show of 2017, Yakeen Ka Safar is cemented at the #1 spot.  No other show has been able to come close.

The story tells the tale of two families - one being Zubia's family (Sajal Ali).  An abusive husband, Zubia's father accidentally kills Zubia's mother in a domestic dispute and then covers up the abuse by threatening his children.  During this low point of her life, Zubia makes a questionable decision that leads to her to disgrace, only to be rescued in a chance encounter by Asfandyar.

Asfandyar's family is a well to do, educated family headed by lawyer Usman.  His foreign educated son Daniyal (Shaz Khan) is also a lawyer.  Daniyal is married to his cousin and childhood sweetheart Geti (Hira Salman), while Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir) - who is in med school and is very fun loving - is engaged to another cousin, Faryal.  This tight-knit family is shown as a very happy unit - until Daniyal takes on a case with an NGO, fighting for a poor woman gang-raped by a politician's son.  Daniyal is directly framed for attempted rape by said politician, in an effort to ruin Daniyal's reputation, and the story reaches a heightened level at this point.  Asfandyar's family moves to a small town to escape the pain life has dealt them.



Zubia, in an effort to escape the shame, takes up a job at a hospital in a small town - a hospital run by Dr. Asfandyar.  It is here where the story truly begins, healing begins and we see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This drama depicts a realistic take on life, family and love.  The characters are lovable, relatable and the emotions depicted are both agonizing and endearing.  This is a show I would wholeheartedly recommend to everyone.



2)  Sang E Mar Mar



Sang E Mar Mar basically sits on the premise of love and a misunderstanding that ensues regarding hidden love.  The story focuses on Gullistan Khan (Noman Ejaz) and his family, consisting of three sons, a daughter in law and his wife (Sania Saeed).  The story essentially follows the plot of Gullistan's son Gohar (Agha Mustafa Hassan) who "traps" a girl Durkhani into his "Web of love."  A series of misunderstandings results in Shireen's brother killing Gohar. How this murder affects Shireen and Gullistan Khan's family forms the basis of the story.  The drama is riveting, each character having multiple layers to them.  There are shades of grey in every character and that's what makes the story all the more intriguing.  Sang E Mar Mar is a gem of a show and, despite the emotional highs and lows, was a treat to watch.  




Noman Ejaz is the backbone of this show and manages to create a character that is both detestable and lovable at the exact same time.  The entire cast plays their parts perfectly.  Kubra Khan leaves a strong impact as Shireen.  Special mention has to be given to Paras Masroor as Torah, who proves to be a stand-out performer.  I won't hesitate to say that as a Pukhtun, it's always nice to see some representation on television, so I have a special place in my heart for this show.



3)  Muqabil




Chup raho, Udaari, even recently Darr Si Jaati Hai Sila dealt with the issue of child abuse.  Muqabil stands out in dealing specifically with the effects abuse can have on a marriage.  Muqabil focuses on Parissa (Kubra Khan), who suffered childhood abuse at the hands of her mother's manager Mehmood, a beloved member of the family.  Years have passed since the incident, but Parissa still carries the pain with her and it has affected her entire life (and personality).  On the other end, Mehmood (Asif Raza Mir) has long carried the guilt of his sin and has turned to God to relieve himself of his heavy burden.  When Parissa decides to marry Armaan, the son of Mehmood, the lives of all three characters are led down a path from which there is no return.  The characters were so complex.  No one character was an angel, they all had shades of grey.



The love story is unusual, beautiful, riveting and in spite of an impossible situation, makes you root for the love birds to somehow make it work.   I cannot speak enough about the performances:  Asif Raza Mir is a master of his art and the way he presents every "pehlu" of his character is gripping.  Kubra Khan, yet again, has delivered an incredible performance, portraying a victim of abuse with depth and understanding.  Mohsin Abbas Haider is always a treat to watch (and LISTEN to).  His performance is so natural, you honestly believe that he IS his character.  Immediately lovable, but with many layers, his portrayal of Armaan is perfect.  

A story of healing, redemption and love, Muqabil presents the audience with a story that is not only memorable, but also very important.



4)  Mohabbat Tumse Nafrat Hai



Mohabbat Tumse Nafrat Hai is the kind of show that moves slowly, the dialogues coated in poetry, the acting subdued and before you can even think “What is the story here?”, you have already been transported into Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar's written world, the world of Kaneez Begum's family. The story is fairly simple: The shy and sweet Gulraiz (Shehzad Sheikh) is in love with Maheen (Ayeza Khan) and, on his wish, the family decides to get them engaged. Enter Waqar (Imran Abbas), a cousin from London and Maheen's childhood enemy. Before the two realize it, Waqar and Maheen have fallen for each other. What starts off as a love triangle between cousins turns into a whirlwind of emotional drama and heartbreak. At no point does the story become “predictable,” despite having a very slow, smooth pace. The emotions are deep, intense and heartfelt, drawing the viewer into a complex situation made further complicated by family relations. Each and every member of the cast does a commendable job, playing their designated part with sincerity.



This show may start off slow, but it emerges as a powerhouse of a show and leaves the viewer grappling with a plethora of emotions by the end. This one comes highly recommended.



5)  Sammi



Sammi boasts of a cast with one actor more talented than the last.  To summarize the story, Sammi is engaged, but on her wedding day, an argument errupts between her fiance and her brother - during which her brother murders her to-be husband.  In exchange for their son's freedom, Sammi's parents agree to making Sammi a "Vanni" (this refers to the forcible marriage of a girl as "punishment" for the actions of a male relative) and she is ultimately given to the Chaudhry of the village as a bride for his 12-year-old son.  It is from here that Sammi's problems really begin and the lives of Sammi, Rashid (Adnan Siddiqui) and Chandni (Sania Saeed) are thrown into a tailspin.


While Sammi focuses specifically on the plight of Sammi, played by Mawra Hocane, her trials and tribulations affect several different key characters and it is this ensemble cast that brings the show together.  Sammi also marked the acting debut of both Ahad Raza Mir and Bilal Khan.

Sammi is a story about the plight of women, not only in rural Pakistan, but also in Pakistani society as a whole.  While this is not a light-hearted fare, it is the sort of show that everyone should watch.



6)  Bin Roye



Bin Roye ended in January of 2017, which just made the cut to be part of 2017's list.  This show captivated me from the get-go.  The story is old wine in a new bottle, but the characters and the treatment make it one hell of a new bottle. Two sisters in love with the same man is not necessarily a new story, but this particular story focuses more on the emotions associated with the situation.  What I love most is that there isn't a "negative" character.  The negativity comes, rather, from the emotions. misunderstandings and wrong assumptions.  High on emotions, we see Saba (Mahira Khan) act out towards Saman (Armeena Khan) and Irtiza (Hamayun Saeed), despite the fact that she loves both in different ways.  Saba struggles with herself and her years of love and adoration for Irtiza, seeing that his heart belongs to Saman.  After tragedy strikes and Irtiza is suddenly presented on a platter to Saba, Saba's grief, turmoil and intense guilt takes over her life.  



It's interesting to watch this storyline only because these characters are written as nice people.  Had there been any vamp-like behavior, this show could've gone to the dogs.  Instead, you sympathize with everyone involved.  It's a beautiful show, visually and emotionally.



7)  Yeh Raha Dil



Yeh Raha Dil focused on the love story between Hayaa, Zaki and Nida - a love triangle between sisters and a boy.  While the story sounds cliched, it's the treatment and the flow that set this show apart.  The show was light-hearted.  Despite my emotional ups and downs with this show and my disdain at how certain characters behaved, I will say that this show was a step above the rest and was different from most shows out there.  They attempted to deliver something "fresh" and I appreciate that.  



Ahmed Ali Akbar and Yumna Zaidi are a couple I always look forward to watching on screen and they have yet to disappoint.  Their chemistry is incredible, you'd almost believe they were a couple in real life. If you haven't seen this show, I'd recommend it if you have a couple of lazy days and want to watch something fairly frustration-free, a little silly and not too heavy.



8)  Khuda Mera Bhi Hai



Khuda Mera Bhi Hai brought a new story to the forefront - a story that focused on a transgender child and his place in Pakistani society.  Ayesha, Jibran, Aly Khan, Saba Hameed, Furqan Qureshi, Irsa Ghazal, Mehmood Aslam......this entire cast deserves applause for their performances in this drama.  The situations depicted were heart-wrenching, the emotions heart-breaking and it made you feel passionate towards the issue of the treatment of "hijras" in South Asia.  Furqan Qureshi, who till date had yet to impress me, is the breakout star in this show, playing the role of Noor with confidence and a heartbreaking kind of sincerity.


How the birth of a third-gender child affects and essentially breaks apart a marriage and affects several relationships is the crux of the story and it was played out beautifully.  I am all praises for this show.

9)  Kuch Na Kaho


A story focused on two sisters, two brothers and the bond between the four characters, this show ran for FORTY SEVEN EPISODES.  In my mind, as the number increased, I thought "What's up with this?  Is it ever going to end?  Is this a soap?"  That being said, there was not a single dull moment.  The story was interesting, the acting was good and the episodes were fast-paced.  I looked forward to watching this show and would wait for new episodes with anticipation.  Was it without flaws?  No.  But was it possibly my favorite show this year?  Definitely.  Naveen & Emmad looked incredible together and their chemistry as at-odds spouses was riveting.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

10)  Shaadi Mubarak Ho 



At the last spot is Shaadi Mubarak Ho, a show that consisted of solid comedy from beginning to end.  In a year full of heavy, solemn topics, this show came like a breath of fresh air.  Resting on the tried and tested formula put into place by the "Baraat" series by Vasay Chaudhry, Shaadi Mubarak Ho follows the love story between a young couple and the chaos that ensues leading up to their wedding.  I will be the first to admit that this show has its share of awkward moments, repetition and lame jokes.  That being said, sometimes a show creates a space in your heart due to the opportune timing - without any good comedy shows on air and an overabundance of misery on television, Shaadi Mubarak Ho arrived at exactly the right moment.  Without being path breaking, this show delivered laughs and kept a smile on the viewers face from beginning to end.


Special Mention goes to these dramas for being good, but not making the cut:  Khuda Aur Mohabbat 2, Nazar E Bad, Phir Wohi Mohabbat and Dil Banjaara.

Alright guys, that's my list!  Please do comment below if there is a drama I missed that you believe deserves to be on this list (even as a special mention).  I am always up for recommendations!  Thanks for reading and until next time, happy watching!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Baaghi - The Finale


I've written a lengthy blog post on Baaghi in the recent weeks, so I don't want to ramble on and on.  What I do want to say is that I am one of "those."  I was pro Qandeel Baloch in her lifetime - not in that I agreed with what she did, but I very much disagreed with people saying she should die and that she was ruining society.  She had a right to live her life however she felt like living it, especially taking her life experiences into account.  I continue to be pro Qandeel Baloch after her death.  Maybe she would have changed.  Maybe she wouldn't have.  She was young.  Whatever she did, it was her choice and not our place to judge.  Whether her brother killed her for "honor" or whether that Mufti had her killed for HIS "honor," either way, Qandeel Baloch's death should not have happened.


Baaghi was a beautiful drama that thoroughly depicted Qandeel's life in a way that was as accurate as could be expected.  All the actors involved did a commendable job, but Saba Qamar in particular should win awards for this performance.  She really touched the hearts of the audience.  That's all I really have to say on this.  I enjoyed the drama from beginning to end, despite some sluggish episodes towards the end and I already know this will feature on my "favorites" list for 2018. 


The drama ended with these words:

"Jhooti izzat aur bemainay ghairati mujh jaisi kahin Qandeelon ko waqt se pehle bujha diya.
Sambhalnay aur badalnay ka jo haq mujhe khuda ne diya tha, woh aap ne cheen liya.
Main maushray ke liye kharaab thi, logon ke ikhlak ke liye khatra thi.
Main jaisi bhi thi, aap ki duniya se chali gayi.
Apni koi safai paish kiye baghair, main sirf yeh poochna chahti hoon ke
Ab to burai khattam ho gayi na?  Logon ke ikhlak bhi bach gaye.
Maushra?  Uska kya hua?  Maushra theek ho gaya?  Hmm?"

("False pride and meaningless ego killed many Qandeels like me. 
The right to grow and change that was God given to me, you took it away.
I was bad for society.  I was dangerous for the morals of people.
However I was, I have left your world.
Without justifying my actions, I would like to just ask one thing.
Now the evil is finished, right?  The morals of people are also safe?
And society?  What happened to society?  It's better now, right?  Hmm?")

I think without saying anything, these words summed up this drama, Qandeel's death and our society.  We have, as a society, gotten worse since Qandeel's death and that's something that is evident.  This drama was eye-opening and tragic.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

De Ijaazat - Episodes 1-4 Thoughts


A Hum TV production, De Ijazat stars Mekaal Zulfiqar and Zarnish Khan.  Zarnish Khan is one of those actresses that I find highly underrated, as she generally associates herself with quality shows and has a lot of untapped talent.  The show appears to deal with family issues and differences of "background" standards.

I'll be 100% honest.  I didn't even know this drama existed, which is odd, because I am usually aware of the dramas the "A-listers" are shooting for.  I only found out about this show, because it popped up in my "Recommended videos" on YouTube after episode 1 aired and I saw Mekaal's face.  Of course, I immediately hit play.


Dua (Zarnish) is a working woman who financially supports her family, consisting of her parents, two sisters and brother.  The show begins with a rishta coming for Duaa, which her parents quickly accept much to the dismay of Duaa (who is not ready to get married, as she believes it's her responsibility to support her family).  Duaa gets engaged, but to make matters worse, when the marriage date comess close, her in-laws ask for a "Watta satta."  They want their daughter to marry Duaa's brother.  Duaa and her family become wary of this marriage, but do not want to break it off as it is only weeks away and do not want to risk Duaa's marriage breaking off.  On the other end, Duaa's brother is making his plans on how to escape to Canada to marry his girlfriend.


Duaa, who is a reporter, meets Mekaal's character (I can't remember his name right now) at his mother's launch party (She is a designer).  He is immediately attracted to her, while she resists his (polite) advances.  He tries to pursue her, but is halted when he discovers that she is engaged. 

On the other end, Dua's brother's plan on leaving the wedding is in full swing.  In the next episiode (episode 5), we will see the effects of his actions on the entire family. 


There is something very appealing about this show, which I can't place my finger on.  It has that "fresh" feel to it, much like "Kuch Na Kaho" last year.  I can already tell where this story is headed and I am interested in how they present this story - a story where a middle class girl marries into a high class household and is still torn between her worlds, as she is still supporting her family.  The concept is a good one, depending on how it is presented.  Let's wait and see, but so far, so good! 

Until next time, happy watching!  =)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dramas I'm Currently Watching: January 2018 Edition - Rapid Fire Thoughts

Hey guys!  Before I even start, some of you have been very loyal readers (you know who you are, thank you!) and I wanted to update you on a recent venture of mine.  I will obviously continue working on this blog, because I’m a writer at heart, not a talker.  But I also have a YouTube channel where I upload two videos a week - one being a Beauty video and the other being a Desi entertainment video (Bollywood, Pakistani dramas, movie reviews, etc).  So please do subscribe!  I’m including the link below!

My YouTube Channel

Since I've been missing in action for a while, I figured I'd update you on what I'm watching at present - and since I don't have an abundance of time to write "essays" for each show, I figured I'd just summarize my thoughts very quickly on each show.  Let's get started!

Tou Dil Ka Kya Hua



To say this show is frustrating would be an understatement.  There are an abundance of "mean spirited" characters and it's like manipulation is around every corner.  Love is a game of musical chairs and the person can be substituted at the snap of a finger.  That being said, what really strikes me about this drama are the emotions depicted.  Many people that I know who have seen this drama complain about the "lack of realism."  And I completely disagree.  I think once you've seen a certain aspect of the world and human beings, you realize that this drama is depicting a reality - a warped reality, but this world exists.  A world where human emotions are fickle, people are selfish in their wants and desires and playing games is the norm.  If Bollywood is escapism, Pakistani dramas can be painfully realistic - and this is one such drama that is emotionally very realistic.  However, it does not have that exciting pull that other dramas have and the characters are pitifully lacking character and morals, even our "nice guys."  That's where this drama loses major points.

Khaani



It's very difficult for me to "ship" anything about this love story, because the character of Mir Hadi is so downright rotten.  And somehow, despite my internal fury towards this situation and what will ultimately become a romantic drama, I'm having a hard time resisting the pull of Feroze & Sana's chemistry.  It speaks volumes of Feroze's acting power where every time he plays a negative character (Khaani, Gul E Rana), you find yourself rooting for his character on a level.  I don't know what to expect from the outcome of this drama and I hope it's not neatly, sweetly wrapped up in a romance, because that goes against my idea that if we show female weakness on television, that's what young minds will further be trained to think.  And YET, I squeal and smile through all Feroze & Sana's scenes together, because this really IS a very interesting, gripping "romance."  Oh, what a tangled web we weave.  Haha.  This show has fast become my favorite show on television.

Mujhe Jeene Do



This story is chaos.  Lying, betrayal and abuse of a minor.  Despite the chaos though, at the bottom of it all, this is reality.  Saira's circumstances to step in as a child bride to care for her older sister's child and husband was heart-breaking, but what's now even more heart-breaking is that her circumstances haven't improved.  It's hard to see Shamu and Saira now grown up and, so obviously in love with each other - something they probably don't even realize - and yet, they can't do a thing about it, as Saira is already married.  It's hard to know how to feel about these characters, because they are all involved in something "bad" (child marriage), but as it's their version of normal, they are also victims of the practice.  Every single actor is doing an incredible job (well, maybe except Hania, who has a lot of weak moments regarding her acting skills) and this sort of ensemble cast is what dream-dramas are made of.  This show is great and, in my opinion, ridiculously underrated.  I don't hear it being spoken about enough!

Alif Allah Aur Insaan



What am I watching?  Why am I watching it?  Why has this influx of new characters taken over my screen when I don't care about them AT ALL?  Why is Zameen (Zareen?  What's her name?) marrying Arsalan over Sikandar?  Like....seriously?!  This is so ridiculous.  I just wait for scenes featuring Ushna, Mekaal, Shahzad and Kubra, because the rest of it has become so "faltu."  I'm hoping it'll pick up eventually, but it's taking a really scenic route....and I hope the destination doesn't require another 20 episodes.

Aisi Hai Tanhai



This drama both fascinates me and infuriates me.  It fascinates me because the topic is SO valid and very prevalent!  It infuriates me because the behavior and the "blame game" is not logical on any level.  Let's discuss for a moment.  The basic storyline is that Pakeeza (Sonya Hussain) and Hamza (Sami Khan) are college sweethearts and really care for each other.  A discussion happens after a classmate of theirs suffers a tragedy and Pakeeza makes Hamza feel that she doesn't completely trust him.  In an effort to PROVE to him that she DOES trust him, she sends him some pictures.  What is in those pictures is left to the imagination, but I think we can all figure that out.  Suddenly, Hamza & Pakeeza's rishta breaks off, Pakeeza's sister (played by Nadia Khan) gets divorced before her Rukhsati even happens and the whole world blames Pakeeza for being of poor character.  And....well, what happens after all of this is just really pushing my brain in a way that I can't digest.  I like this show, because it shows a true face of our society, but at the same time....Pakeeza's mother's actions are downright rotten and I don't even understand WHY any of these characters got themselves into the situation that they are in at present.  I don't know.  BUT, something I do want to say is this:  When Sonya Hussain first started acting a few years ago, she was my LEAST favorite actress of all time.  She has improved unbelievably, to the point that I really feel she's talented and wish she would act in more dramas. Also, this OST is a song I grew up listening to a lot as a kid, but Rahat infuses new life into it and I have found myself listening to his rendition a lot lately.

Darr Si Jaati Hai Sila



Oh my goodness, what do I say about this show?  Okay, short version.  So I really like the story and the cast is very talented, so acting isn't an issue at all.  That being said, the behavior of these characters really perplexes me and makes me think the entire household is insane.  With the exception of Zaini (this actress is really good, by the way) and her parents and Raheel (who is a little bit of a "lallu," but nice), the entire family is crazy.  But what's irritating is not only how Sila behaves, but also how her mother behaves and how they communicate with each other.  If her purpose is to protect her daughter, why isn't she honest with her?  Why don't they trust each other?  Why does Sila believe that a man so seedy would be the man her mother would choose to be in an illicit relationship with?  Why doesn't Sila TALK TO ANYONE?  She clearly has a tongue in her mouth, because it moves pretty rapidly with her mother!  WHY?  WHYYYYY?  Oh my goodness.  I just can't deal with this drama, it actually gives me anxiety.  Yumna Zaidi is doing a great job, I just wish there was more depth and better characterization for her character.  Noman Ejaz is incredible as always.  And again, special mention to the girl who plays Zaini, because she oozes confidence and talent.  I won't say I'm "looking forward" to how this progresses, but I am interested....


Daldal



In the initial episodes, this drama had me pulling out my hair with irritation and I was actually about to give up and discard it from my list.  Thank God I didn't, because at present, this is one of my favorite shows.  Daldal has shown the plight of an illegal immigrant and what his family left behind goes through with so much.....I think the correct word would be agony.  When people imagine the "immigrant dream," they don't take into account what immigrants actually go through when they come to a new country (and in this case, HOW they GET there) and have to start over.  No one realizes what their families go through when their loved ones are unable to come back due to immigration status.  It's a hard life and it's both refreshing and miserable watching the story of Shuja and Hira.  Special mention to Muneeb Bhatt as Kamran, because he's the best character on the show.

Meeras



I haven't been able to make it past episode 2 of this show yet, but the cast is incredible and I'm loving it so far.  I can't comment much on the story, because it hasn't taken off just yet as far as I've seen.  But the acting prowess of Savera Nadeem combined with Mohsin Abbas' excellent comedic timing is a winner (so far)!

Teri Raza




This show was my favorite when it began.  I loved the story, I loved the characters and I loved the overall feel of the show.  Then Suhana (Sanam Baloch) became pretty selfish, crazy and downright irritating.  This show feels like a marriage musical chairs at this point, because we know Suhana will not remain with Rameez for much longer.  Also, Suhana's relationship with her father is downright ridiculous.  They are BOTH so disrespectful to each other, it hurts my head to watch.  Something solid needs to happen in this show now in order for it to pick up, unfortunately.  Sarmad Khoosat as Imtiaz is the highlight of this show.  Any woman would love to have a husband like Imtiaz and Sarmad's ability to be in many different shows airing at once on TV and play such DIVERSELY different characters is a testament to his acting skill (Baaghi, Mujhe Jeene Do, Manto, Teri Raza).  I'm still watching, but this is beginning to drag.

Baaghi



What was once the best show on television has slowed in pace to a point where I'm left wondering what on earth is happening?  It's still interesting and the actors/characters/story make it very enjoyable to watch.  But at this point, nothing is happening.  I feel like this story deserves a tighter, more solid script - which, to be fair, it has had up until the  last 4 episodes. It has kind of slowed down since then.  But with the "kuch saal baad" leap, I'm hoping to see a pick-up in pace now.  Still loving it.

Manto



Honesty is the best policy.  This drama is something I waited for.....for a really long time.  But it is, unfortunately, too artsy for me.  I love art cinema, I love art movies, but this is "over my head" kind of art.  I feel like I'm in a constant state of being high (which I have never been, but I imagine this is what it's like) while watching this.  So, for that reason, I have dropped it from my list.  Maybe once it finishes airing, I can pick it up again (if I'm going through a bored moment).  But I do love Sarmad Khoosat, so it hurts my heart to drop this.

Rangreza



What is happening?!  First of all, this show makes me feel like all these characters are living in an alternate reality where they look like they live in 2017 (2018?), but they act like they live in the 1960s.  The characters in this show are either really badtameez or really lachaar.  There is little middle ground of "normalcy."  That's all I really want to say right now.  I love this show, but the current track is doing my head in with Tippu acting literally insane.

Khamoshi



This is one of those shows that I watch only because I can't stop myself.  It's like I want to quit on it, but it's so darn addictive that I can't.  This is not a "good" show.  This is a show where women are either really meek or they are so chalaak that they can destroy their family to get their own way.  In my world, if a man doesn't love you, you don't crush the woman he loves (your SISTER) in order to "get him."  In my world, an educated girl isn't essentially SOLD out to be a servant.  In my world, a man doesn't completely distrust a girl, fall in love with that girl's sister and then suddenly trust everything said (evil) girl says, falling into her manipulation.  In my world, when you think a woman has betrayed you and her family has treated her badly, you don't agree to marry her younger sister.  There are other women in the world!   In my world, an educated man doesn't fall for a servant just because he bumps into her and she looks mildly sweet.  As you can see, there is SO MUCH wrong with this show.  Everything is wrong with this show (except for the beautiful cast).  But somehow, you just HAVE to see a happy ending for Zara's character (Irsa?)....so I'm sticking to it.  Blah.

Alright guys!  That's it.  Those are the shows I'm watching at present.  Some are good, some not so much.  I promise to write again soon!  Thanks for reading, until next time, happy watching! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Khaani: What Am I Watching?

Hello all!  First of all, guys, I am so sorry for consistently falling off the wagon with writing.  Honestly, the only excuse I can give you is that life tends to get in the way, there are constant obstacles and sometimes writing simply has to take a backseat - not to mention that when the going gets tough, the tough have too much to deal with and it becomes difficult to keep up with watching television.  That being said, I'm back and will do my best to remain consistent.  Wedding season is in full swing and my schedule is very busy, but I will do what I can.  I have a few readers that always wish me well, always keep up with my blog and honestly - you guys are why I continue doing this, so THANK YOU for reading and being so understanding. 


Okay guys, "Yakeen Ka Safar" finished and while the ending didn't necessarily overwhelm viewers, for me personally.....I enjoyed it.  I agree with the complaints - I also wish we had seen Zubia & Asfandyar's wedding and been a part of that "moment."  I also wish we had been witness to Dr. Haroon and Geti's wedding, because that was a very touching, heart-warming connection and they both so deserved that happiness.  That being said, I did enjoy that beautiful moment between Zubia and Asfandyar in the hospital.  I did find that "Itna bhi trust nahin tha mujhpar?" line a little far-fetched, because.....well, obviously, they were so formal with each other, of course she didn't trust him!  But these two beautiful characters deserved nothing but the best and it was great to see that love story come to a happy end.  Since I hadn't written since the ending of Yakeen Ka Safar, I did want to drop in this small note!  Personally, I believe Yakeen Ka Safar was the highlight of 2017 drama-wise.  Well done, Hum TV, well done.

Okay.....let's come to the point of this post.  I want to discuss "Khaani."  I'm going to put a disclaimer straight-up that I am two episodes behind right now, so I've only seen the first 3 episodes of this drama.  If I say something that you feel "Oh, but you're not right about this....," just know that I'm not up-to-date.  I am simply commenting on the overall premise of the show.


Khaani came with high expectations from the viewers.  A beautiful OST rendered by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, a great production house, the promise of a beautiful, never-seen-before love story and the first-time pairing of Feroze & Sana all came together to leave drama viewers waiting in anticipation. 

Khaani follows the story of our title character, Khaani (Played by Sana Javed) and Mir Hadi (Feroze Khan).  Khaani and Saim are twins from a loving family including two more sisters and loving parents.  Mir Hadi is the son of a politician running for re-election.  Mir Hadi has a terrible attitude, is arrogant, self-obsessed and has an incredibly short temper.  One happy day after Saim finds out he has received a scholarship, his family happily awaits his arrival to begin the celebrations.  On his way home, Saim has an altercation with Mir Hadi, which results in his death. 


Now, because I'm behind on a few episodes, I'm not sure what has happened other than Mir Hadi's release.  But from what I gather, Mir Hadi will go on to be repentant of his crimes and will work to "fix" her life somehow. 

Guys, I don't consider myself a (I hate this word) "feminazi."  I'm a feminist in the normal way that I believe in equal rights, I believe in human rights.  I believe in equality.  I believe women are capable of doing anything.  So I don't get riled up over silly things.  But.....something about this show is rubbing me the wrong way. 



The premise is seemingly going two ways:  a "version" of Tum Bin where a crime is committed and that "criminal" will then come into the female lead's life to rectify things.  But here's the difference - in Tum Bin, the crime committed was purely an accident and the "criminal" was not a terrible person who thought he could get away with anything.  He simply made an error in judgement and rushed away in fear.  Here, dealing with a character like Mir Hadi, it seems like allowing a character like this to get "redemption" (IN ROMANCE!!!) is absolving him of his terrible behavior and his highly INTENTIONAL crime. 

OR Khaani will stand against Hadi Mir and they will somehow end up married with Khaani vowing to take revenge.....and then ultimately falling for Hadi.  Either way, I am miffed by either storyline.


Why are shows like this even made?  I wonder.  I know that the concept of the "egotistic hero made soft by the sweet heroine" is an idea that works brilliantly on Indian television - but is it really something to idolize and imitate?  Even with Gul-E-Rana a couple of years ago, I was torn by how much I really enjoyed the show, but at the same time, I was thrilled by the ending.  It didn't perpetuate the stereotype that a man can do anything and then get away with his bad behavior.  I am not sure where exactly this show will take this concept, but from what I'm seeing, it seems to be falling more under the category of "redemption" rather than "karma." 

I am finding the story interesting (if not painful to watch), so I'm going to continue watching, but I'm hoping I'm entirely wrong about the direction in which it's headed.  Let me know your thoughts!  Until next time, happy watching!  :)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Yakeen Ka Safar: Wading Through Life and Love


In the past few weeks, I've seen many articles come out about Yakeen Ka Safar, praising the show and drawing in new viewers.  Despite being a viewer from day 1, I refrained from writing about this particular show in detail.  This the excerpt from the last time I wrote about this show (back in June):

Intense.  Grim.  Painfully real.  Depicts the true reality of our society.  These are the first things that come to mind when describing this drama.  "Gumaan ke baad yakeen ka safar" - so far, there is so much gumaan and I'm still clinging on with my fingernails for some yakeen to begin. 

Sajal Ali's story as Zubia is interesting, but I'm waiting for it to really take off.  While I'm glad her once-evil father has had a change of heart, it goes to show that your children end up being a mirror of their parents.  To see her once-loving brother Rehan turn against her thanks to their upbringing (and her evil Bhabi) is disheartening and absolutely realistic.  I'm looking forward to watching her interactions with Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir).

On the other end, we've been seeing Daniyal (Shaz Khan) fighting to defend the honor of his client - however, he's taking on the son of a politician and that's put him in a dangerous position.  In the latest episode, we witnessed a huge twist with Daniyal being shot.  Will he make it?  Did he die?  That's what I'm waiting for anxiously.  Shaz Khan's chemistry with Hira Salman is seriously adorable, so I am hoping this isn't the end for the duo.  Things are looking grim though....

All in all, this is an intense drama and not for anyone looking for something light-hearted.  The story is solid though and I'm expecting for it to only get better from here (hopefully).


Since then, the show has leaped forward by heaps and bounds, changing directions entirely while still remaining tied to the plot.  When this show began, it was heavily action-packed, full of social messages, namely the fight of the oppressed vs. the oppressors.  The characters were idealistic, full of passion, energy and youth.  At present, the show is much more subdued, more emotional than action-packed, dealing with the long term effects of grief and loss.


When Yakeen Ka Safar first began, it felt like wading through shallow water in a river with uncertainty as to when the floor would drop.  From the get-go, Yakeen Ka Safar moved with a quiet calm towards a ragingly powerful yet subtle story.

What is Yakeen Ka Safar about?  The effect upbringing has on children, social injustice, the corrupt system in Pakistan, marital abuse, social stigma that women face, feminism, the importance of female education, mental health, the different ways people grieve and how they deal with that grief, forgiveness and, finally, love are all themes that Yakeen Ka Safar touches upon.  However, there is not a single moment of preaching in the show, rather these themes are presented so naturally and realistically.

However, at its very core, Yakeen Ka Safar is about the predictable:  it's a love story.  What makes this love story so unique?  I honestly could not see this love story emerging between these two characters until over half the show had gone by.  Yakeen Ka Safar kept me on my toes, yet moved with such an unpredictability, much like life - and that is what's refreshing.

For those who have not seen the show yet, first of all, I'll say what are you waiting for?  I've been recommending this show to anyone willing to listen, but with the disclaimer that it is not a fast-paced show that follows a predictable path.  That being said, it's beautiful and easily the best thing on television after "Baaghi" and "Mujhe Jeene Do."  It has been a long time since a drama has kept me waiting for each week to pass in order to watch a new episode.  Wednesdays have fast become my favorite day of the week thanks to YKS.


Getting to the story, let's do a quick recap.

The story tells the tale of two families - one being Zubia's family (Sajal Ali).  Zubia's family consists of an abusive father, a docile yet loving mother, a brother and her bhabi.  An abusive husband, Zubia's father accidentally kills Zubia's mother in a domestic dispute and then covers up the abuse by threatening his children.  While her father later repents and changes his focus in life towards Zubia's happiness, his previous behavior has already left its imprint on Zubia's brother Rehan, pushed further by his practically-evil wife.  During a low point of her life, Zubia makes a questionable decision that leads to her to disgrace, only to be rescued in a chance encounter by Asfandyar.

Asfandyar's family is a well to do, educated family headed by lawyer Usman.  His foreign educated son Daniyal (Shaz Khan) followed in his father's footsteps and is also a lawyer.  Daniyal is married to his cousin and childhood sweetheart Geti (Hira Salman), while Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir) - who is in med school and very fun loving - is engaged to another cousin, Faryal.  This tight-knit family is shown as a very happy, loving family - until Daniyal takes on a case with an NGO, fighting for a poor woman gang-raped by a politician's son.  Daniyal is directly framed for attempted rape by said politician, in an effort to ruin Daniyal's reputation, and the story reaches a heightened level at this point.  Lawyer Usman's family moves to a small town to escape the pain life has dealt them.

On the other end, Zubia has graduated from med school, but is unable to escape her past.  At every turn, she finds blame being thrown her way and people looking at her with suspicion, being labeled a "ghar se bhaagi hui ladki" (a woman who once ran away from home).  In an effort to escape this label, she takes up a job at a hospital in a small town - a hospital run by Dr. Asfandyar.

It is here where the story truly begins, healing begins and we see the light at the end of the tunnel.

At present, the story finally gave the viewers a sense of relief and closure regarding one storyline, only to throw us into grief once again in the most recent episode.  Once again, I am waiting with baited breath for the next episode, wondering what course this show is about to tread.  Will our main characters, Zubia and Asfandyar, find peace in each other?  Will Geti get the happy ending she so deserves?


Coming to performances, there isn't one performer here that outshines anyone else.  Everyone has done a commendable job.  That being said, Ahad Raza Mir is a gem.  While he had presence in "Sammi," here he shines brighter than any other star on television at present in the character of Asfandyar.  Asfandyar, as a character, has become the sort of heartthrob role that Fawad Khan's Asher had been in Humsafar.  A role that turns an actor into a star- Ahad Raza Mir is well onto his way of being a star.  His subtle performance as Asfandyar is endearing - whether it's the youthful, spirited Asfi or the serious, brooding Dr. Asfandyar, Ahad plays this role as a natural.

Sajal Ali as Zubia is perfect for the role.  Quiet and self-guarded, Zubia has learned to keep to herself and protect herself from those around her.  Sajal's acting only adds to the brilliant writing, displaying Zubia's pain with her eyes, namely as she guards herself from her own feelings towards Asfandyar.


Hina Salman as Geti is a complete natural.  Her anguish is displayed with a quiet calm, masked by a sad smile.  Shaz Khan shines in his role as Daniyal, a role so prominent to the story and his presence is felt throughout the show.

Sabiha Somar and Farhan Ali Agha excel as Asfandyar and Daniyal's parents, emoting so well that you can't remember them in any other role while they are on screen.  They ARE the parents of these two boys, broken-hearted and grieving.


The side characters are equally endearing, especially Mani as Dr. Haroon and the rest of the hospital staff.

While the show is inching towards a conclusion with only 2-3 episodes left, I am already beginning to feel a void "Yakeen Ka Safar is the sort of show that doesn't come around that often.  Each episode leaves behind an emotional impact and teaches you to really appreciate the relationships in your life - and to extend your hand to others, as everyone has a past, feels pain and needs support.

I'm eagerly waiting for the remaining episodes of YKS and hope you are too.  If you aren't already watching, you should be!  Happy watching!

(Pictures courtesy Hum TV)